ALERT – Release of a new factsheet: Syrians maimed and traumatized by explosive weapons.

Posted by: on Jun 20, 2016 | No Comments

To mark World Refugee Day, Handicap International is publishing the Syria, A Mutilated Future report to shed light on the devastating impact of explosive weapons on Syrians displaced inside the country or who are refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

According to the factsheet, 15% of reported victims are amputees and 80% are traumatized and suffer serious psychological distress. The organisation is calling on parties to the conflict to put an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and to ensure access to humanitarian aid in order to meet the needs of people affected by the conflict.

The Syria, A Mutilated Future factsheet is based on an analysis, conducted between June 2013 and December 2015, of the situation of 25,000 beneficiaries of Handicap International’s actions, either displaced in Syria or refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. This document shows that explosive weapons caused 53% of injuries due to the crisis. It highlights the terrible consequences of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas:

  • 89% of people injured by explosive weapons have a temporary or permanent disability;
  • 80% of them show signs of severe psychological distress;
  • 66% feel unable to perform essential daily tasks mainly because of anxiety, stress or physical or mental exhaustion.
© Frederik Buyckx / Handicap International

© Frederik Buyckx / Handicap International

While 47% of people assessed have simple or complex fractures and 15% are amputees, Handicap International underlines the fact that poor access to care worsens the impact of explosive weapons on casualties. The absence of appropriate medical services – due to the collapse of the health service in Syria or, in neighbouring countries, the inability of medical structures to meet the needs of injured refugees – has a serious impact on patients, including sequelae with pain for life, amputation, deformity of injured limbs, disability or even death.

All parties to the conflict use this type of weapon on a massive scale, with terrible consequences for civilians. “Because these explosive weapons have a blast or fragmentation effect, they kill or cause complex injuries. Their widespread use, combined with the absence of appropriate medical care and psychological support in Syria has a devastating impact on people’s lives. With more than one million casualties in Syria, an entire generation is going to suffer the sequelae of these weapons,” explains Anne Héry, head of advocacy at Handicap International.

In September 2015, Handicap International launched an international campaign to end the bombing of civilians. The organisation is calling on States to sign a political declaration to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and to recognise the suffering of civilians.

To achieve this, Handicap International has co-founded INEW (International Network on Explosive Weapons), a coalition of international and national organisations.

Read the factsheet Syria, a mutilated future :